Whilst Premier League and FA Cup champions Chelsea endured their fourth consecutive defeat ahead of the new season, Manchester United showed the watching world a glimpse of what they're capable of this campaign, beating the Blues 3-1 at Wembley to win the FA Community Shield.
Known to be the curtain-raiser for the new season, this year's Community Shield match produced some entertaining football from both sides, as United won their 14th CS title.
Goals from Antonio Valencia and Dimitar Berbatov, sandwiched between the hilarious debut goal for Javier Hernandez, as well as the genius tactics of mastermind manager Sir Alex Ferguson, ensured the Red Devils emerged from Wembley as 3-1 victors.
It such tactics from United, combined with skill and impeccable fitness levels, which rendered Salomon Kalou's 83rd minute goal merely a consolation for Carlo Ancelotti's lacklustre Chelsea team.
Here's how Manchester United tactically got the edge over Chelsea:
Simple Forward Runs
All three Manchester United goals against Chelsea were scored using simple, sudden changes of pace and darting forward runs which left the Blues defence feeling blue.
For Antonio Valencia's opener, Wayne Rooney pulled out wide to drag centre-back John Terry out with him and leave Branislav Ivanovic exposed in the middle of the Chelsea defence, allowing Rooney to play the ball expertly through to the onrushing Valencia coming down from the wing, who was there to strike home the opening goal before Ivanovic could even react.
As soon as Rooney pulled out wide and received the ball, the change of pace from Valencia left his marker Ashley Cole unawares, as the Ecuadorian ghosted past Cole and into the penalty area to shoot on goal before any other opposing defender could react.
The same happened for the second goal, as again a change of pace from Valencia meant he could break free past Cole (yet again; notice a pattern here?) and Chelsea's defensive line to receive the through-ball from Paul Scholes with enough time and space ahead to wait for teammates, pick out the right option, and tee up Javier 'Chicharito' Hernandez for that goal.
And as for United's third, a change of pace from the controversial Dimitar Berbatov allowed him to skip past the fatigued Chelsea defence, receive the ball with space and score the goal that confirmed United's victory.
With players like Paul Scholes able to make superb visionary passes and match the intelligent yet subtle darting runs of teammates, it's clear that United's evident training ground work on this tactic has been utilised to full effect.
Such a legendary player is Paul Scholes, it's testimony to the man-of-the-match that he himself can be labelled a match-winning tactic used by United boss Sir Alex Ferguson.
The midfield maestro completed Manchester United tactically against Chelsea, playing in the holding midfielder yet playmaker at the same time.
Positioned deep in the midfield, Scholes was able to make the most of his superb forward-thinking and vision to hit long balls over the top to pick out Rooney for the first United goal and Valencia for the second, as well as several others long-range passes finding teammates in threatening positions upfield.
He was able to dictate play and yet provide defensive cover if a United attack broke down, also giving midfield partner Michael Carrick the freedom to roam forward and provide extra options further up the pitch.
And of course, Scholesy again made of the most of his role as the 'midfield enforcer', i.e. the player who goes in the tackle in a slightly more "robust" manner.
It was a tactical ploy from Sir Alex, and of course Scholes himself, which was used to great effect, with the rough challenges psychologically unsettling Chelsea and giving their players the message from United that "we're up for it".
Used to such great effect this tactic was that Manchester United ended up winning 3-1, with Scholes deservedly winning the man-of-the-match award.
Everybody Ditch Scholes And The Centre-Backs
With the aforementioned Scholes playing that playmaker-yet-defensive role, midfield partner Michael Carrick, as well as the two full-backs, were given license to push up and join the attack, with the wingers cutting into the middle to provide greater attacking verve inside the penalty area.
Thanks to Carlo Ancelotti picking two holding midfielders in his Chelsea line-up, the Blues' defence was quite packed and so United were able to commit men forward trying to counter-act this while safe in the knowledge they wouldn't be exposed at the back should their opponents counter-attack.
And courtesy of the superior fitness levels shown by the United players, they were much more able to run forward and attack whilst able to track back and defend if necessary.
Whilst this tactical move didn't produce any goals directly, it had the desired effect from fatiguing the Chelsea defence.
And by the time Berba was around to score United's third, it was clear that the Red Devils' full-out working of the Blues' defence, when they did venture forward, had left John Terry and co. feeling slightly tired, to say the least.
Even a sustained period of pressure on the Manchester United defence from Chelsea, which was successful in yielding a goal, didn't give their defenders enough recovery time before Berba and his change of pace left Terry et al for dead.